Georgia Mozell, Eve Marks and Maddy Mozell are adult sisters. Georgia is the editor of her own wildly successful self-titled women's magazine. She strives for publicity at any cost. Party planner Eve is the mother hen of the group, not only of her own family, but also of her siblings and father as their mother, Pat, not only emotionally left their father when they divorced, but her daughters as well. And Maddy is a vacuous soap opera actress who has always struggled for her own identity. Despite being as busy with her own life as the others, Eve is the only one of the three who deals with the long term hospitalization of their cantankerous seventy-nine year old father, Lou Mozell, when he enters the early stages of dementia, and the associated outcomes of that hospitalization. Eve's caring for Lou is despite an especially hurtful incident with him seven years earlier. As the emotional aspect of looking after Lou becomes more and more stressful, Eve has to figure out how to maintain ... Written by
When the three sisters are en route from the Nixon Library to the hospital, they drive across a bridge on the wrong side of the road (apparently a reversal of the negative). See more »
You know, that I actually met a girl by the name of Moo Goo Gai Pan? That was her last name. Her first name was Freida. Freida Moo Goo Gai Pan. She was half-Jewish, half-Chinese. A lot of people called her the Ori-Yenta.
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I caught this on late night TV, having missed it in the theaters originally. I wasn't expecting brilliance, but just HOW bad this was - given all the talent involved (Keaton, Ryan, Kudrow, Ephron sisters) it was pretty shockingly poor.
One thing that stood out to me (in 2014) is that filmmakers need to be more careful about centering pictures on things like phones or computers. The technology changes SO fast, and it dates the film just horribly. Think about movies from the 40s-60s; they often seem ageless. But nobody today can see those big clunky cellphones from 1999 without falling over laughing...my god! the giant antennas! lol!
What we DO forget though -- and this is endemic throughout the entire film -- is how costly a cellphone was in 1999. It was something only a person of wealth and privilege would own, or if you did own it, could use it round the clock, with no concern over every expensive minute (unlimited chat was unknown then). Simply that the Mozell clan can afford to yak constantly on expensive phones was a clear, elitist signal that these folks are staggering rich -- BEFORE you notice that they all live in giant Hollywood mansions, drive huge SUVs and can travel about on a whim.
Screenwriters Delia and Nora Ephron based this on their own lives, as wealthy Hollywoodistas, but it just displays their cluelessness about how ordinary Americans live or deal with the universal problem of aging parents, illness and death. It trivializes a whole serious and very human subject. In his last film, Walter Matthau is touching if for no other reason than he was actually very ill and just hanging on; he died a few months later.
Diane Keaton directs this mess very awkwardly, though she was given a script that I think had to have been close to unfilmable. For starters, it is heavily autobiographical -- the Ephrons are a sister clan of successful writers, whose parents WERE successful Hollywood screenwriters. That means everyone involved was way too close to the subject or milieu to be objective.
Meg Ryan is attractive here, pre-facelift, though she is playing the same role as in many other films (goofy overwhelmed chick). Keaton should have known better than to cast herself; she is 16-18 years older than the other actresses and far too old to be their sister (we see them all playing together as as similar-age siblings in flashbacks!).
The main star here is....the lavish sets, the art direction of which totally distracts from the plot. Ryan's character lives in a Tuscan mansion of vast proportions and decor, despite no visible means of income. Matthau is shown in an unbelievably posh Modernist mansion you enter on a bridge over a pool (and it's been seen in FAR too many other movies and commercials to work here as a believable family home).
The final straw: at the excruciating end (the film is 95 minutes but feels like 3 hours), the sisters come together after Dad's sudden death for Thanksgiving dinner. They get in a cutesy, phony food fight throwing flour on each other's posh black Donna Karan outfits (*plugged by NAME!)....now, who without a maid or cleaning service, would throw FLOUR all over themselves and the kitchen floor, just before Thanksgiving dinner? Nobody. Only someone rich, and with servants, would remotely consider it.
Conclusion: just painful to watch, unfunny and snobbishly elitist. Avoid.
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